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Telangana: Congress govt files FIR against journalist who tried to highlight the harassment of a woman by electricity department staff and power cuts

Reacting to the registration of an FIR against her, Hyderabad-based journalist Revathi described it as “her medal of Honour” for her journalistic endevours. 

On Wednesday (19th June), the Telangana Police filed an FIR against a journalist who had been highlighting public grievances regarding the electricity department, frequent power cuts, and subsequent alleged harassment of customers by electricity department. The journalist has been booked on allegations of intentionally spreading false propaganda and “defaming” the state government and their organization, TGSPDCL.

Reacting to the registration of an FIR against her, Hyderabad-based journalist Revathi described it as “her medal of Honour” for her journalistic endevours. 

Taking to X, she questioned the double-speak of the Congress party on the issue of press freedom and selective application of law. She wrote, “In a BIZARRE move, an FIR has been lodged against me while the actual culprits from Telangana Power & Co, who harassed a female consumer in broad daylight, walk free!” 

She tagged Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, and Telangana CM Revanth Reddy and asked, “Is this your stance on media independence? Is your government trying to silence journalists who expose the truth? 

She demanded that if Congress leaders mean to stand for democracy, they should protect the freedom of the press when journalists fight for justice. 

As per her X (Twitter) timeline, she has been highlighting public grievances regarding the electricity department. In an earlier post, Revathi had shared the concerns of a woman who was harassed allegedly by the electricity department for posting against frequent power cuts in her area. The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed by journalist Revathi, had reported that a lineman visited her residence and she was asked to delete her post. 

It is further alleged that when the female customer informed the power department officials about it, they responded by telling her that she should have called them instead of tweeting about it. As per the customer, she was told, “There is too much pressure on the electricity department from the people above”. Revathi added that she cross-checked the incident and has the recording of the said interaction, however, for safety concerns, she didn’t want to share it.  

According to the journalist, the female customer who initially tweeted about the power cut feared for her safety as she lived in a rented house and the power department staff knew her address. Incidentally, a Hyderabad-based journalist, Naveena said that she has been an anxious tenant ever since she raised a complaint online about power cuts.

In another tweet, she questioned the selective response of the Telangana Police as she highlighted their response to two complaints she posted about. She noted that while the police responded by issuing a veiled threat – later an FIR was registered against her for the same – her other complaint against CM’s brother was ignored.

According to her, on 12th June, a man named Syed Salim was attacked allegedly by the henchmen of Tirupathi Reddy, brother of state CM Revanth Reddy. 

Details mentioned in the FIR

As per the FIR copy shared by Revathi, the Police received a complaint from an Assistant Engineer, M Dileep (33), working in the LB Nagar area in the early hours of 19th June 2024. The complainant stated that on 18th June around 5 PM, he received a message from his higher officials that an X handle @revathitweets posted a message that power was interrupted in the LB Nagar area for 7 hours. 

However, after an inquiry from data sheets of the substation, the electricity department officials found that there was no power interruption of 7 hours in the LB Nagar Area in the last 6 months.

The complainant further stated that it was merely a “false allegation and intentionally defaming the state government and their organization TGSPDCL”. Hence, he requested to take necessary action against Twitter(X) account holder @revathitweets who is intentionally spreading false propaganda against the state government and their organization and making it viral in social media by creating an incident that did not happen. Hence FIR, the FIR copy added. 

Based on the complaint, the Police registered a case in Cr No 662/2024, under sections 505 IPC & Sec 66 (D) of IT ACT and the investigation was handed over to Inspector L Ramanjaneyulu.

Several X users, including many Hyderabad-based journalists and prominent politicians, lambasted the Congress party for filing an FIR against a journalist and threatening her for airing public grievances concerning the Electricity department. Many of them argued that even if her claims were not true, the electricity department could have clarified them with rejoinders rather than filing a criminal case over highlighting issues of power cuts and subsequent harassment of customers by power department personnel.

Former Minister in the KCR Cabinet and BRS leader KTR asked whether it is the Police department that is running the Energy department or if there is a Police Raj in the state.

BJP IT-cell head Amit Malviya took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Khata Khata’ freebies election promises and wrote, “Woman harassed in Congress-ruled Telangana for complaining against extended power cut.” 

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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